Play Dead: A Gripping Serial Killer Thriller by Angela Marsons

51bWR1ciXAL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_“The dead don’t tell secrets… unless you listen.

The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.

Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A ‘body farm’ investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.

Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It’s clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work – but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?

As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer’s secrets – but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim …?”

When you hear on the blogger grapevine that the new Angela Marsons book is up for grabs on NetGalley, you drop everything.  EVERYTHING!  There is something so appealing, so special about this series.  It’s addictive and we all need our next DI Kim Stone fix!

DCI Woodward offers Kim and her team an extra special treat.  A visit to the local body farm, a place were they study the effects of weather and insect activity on long-dead corpses.  Not everyones idea of a treat!  Whilst on the guided tour Kim discovers a more recent addition to the body farms residents, the freshly deceased body of a woman.  Can Kim find the killer before anyone else meets the same grisly fate…?

This is a fabulous book.  I have grown to love Kim Stone and her team in a way I haven’t with other characters in other series.  I feel a fondness for Stone, Bryant, Stacey…even Dawson!  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a warm fuzzy story.  It’s a dark and scary read. Some parts I found quite harrowing and some parts my heart ached for one particular character.  I loved it.

I found the story very gripping and hard to put down.  I was drawn in from start to finish.  I loved the body farm setting, it really appealed to me and isn’t the kind of location you read about every day (ignoring Patricia Cornwell!).  It is clear that Angela Marsons has done a lot of research for this book.  Parts of the body farm content are truly fascinating and I learnt a few things that I didn’t know before.

Would I recommend this book?  Oh yes, but start with Silent Scream (DI Kim Stone, Book 1) and work your way up.  Only because all of Angela’s DI Stone books are fabulous and I wouldn’t want you to miss out!

Five out of five stars.

Many thanks to Bookouture, Angela Marsons and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Play Dead in exchange for an honest review.

Play Dead by Angela Marsons was published in the UK by Bookouture on 20th May 2016 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | | |

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Angela discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
After many, many submissions Angela was signed in a 4 book deal to as their first crime author.  Connect with Angela Marsons on Twitter @WriteAngie


*Blog Tour: Review* Anything For Her by Jack Jordan


“Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you.

Louise Leighton’s life has fallen apart, all because of one fateful night. Her husband is an adulterer, her sister is his mistress, and soon, Louise will lose everything she owns. But she never imagined she would lose her daughter.

Eighteen-year-old Brooke Leighton is missing. It’s up to Louise and the Metropolitan Police to find her. Has Brooke run away? Or has she been taken against her will? And can Louise aid the investigation without mentioning the night where all of her troubles began?

If she mentions that night, she will incriminate her daughter for heinous crimes. But if she doesn’t, she may never find Brooke; and if she has been abducted, the person who took her may come for Louise, too.

Sometimes the past comes back to kill you.”

I am delighted to be part of the Anything For Her blog tour today.  Many thanks to Jack Jordan for asking me to participate.  Anything For Her is Jack’s debut novel with his second, My Girl, published in July 2016.

The sense of foreboding in this book is spine tingling.  As soon as you start reading you know that something about these characters, something they’ve done, is catastrophic. From start to finish my heart rate increased by a few beats a minutes and I felt tense, waiting…

Louise Leighton’s life is falling apart.  Everything that can go wrong is, and it’s going wrong with bells on it!  Her husband has been cheating on her, with her sister. Her husband is about to be arrested for tax evasion and fraud (seems the husband is to blame for most of her misery!).  She and her family are about to lose everything they own in order to pay her husband’s debts.  But worst of all, Louise has a secret.  Now her daughter is missing and deep down Louise knows it’s all because of THAT night. The night life changed forever for the Leighton family…

This book is chock full of suspense.  It’s an ‘edge of your seat’ read and very hard to put down once you start (I read it in a day which is very quick for me).  The only character I really warmed to was the lovely Dominic, Louise’s young son.  Everyone else has a slightly sinister edge which makes it a challenge to like them.  I really wanted to like Louise but she is so flawed that I failed, miserably.  Plus I’m really not all that sure about her style of parenting!  I’m definitely not a perfect mum myself but, oh my!

I found certain parts of the story quite creepy.  There is one scene (I’m trying very hard to not give anything away for those that haven’t read it yet) where Louise wakes up in bed after a heavy night on the wine to find she is not alone.  Just thinking about it now makes me shudder!

I have Jack Jordan’s new book, My Girl, to read and I’m very much looking forward to it. Even more so after reading this his debut novel.  Oh, and did I mention that I’m on the blog tour for My Girl too?

Four and a half out of five stars.

Many thanks to Jack Jordan for providing me with a copy of Anything For Her in exchange for an honest review.

Anything For Her by Jack Jordan was published in the UK on 21st June 2015 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | | |

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Photo by Titus Powell

Jack Jordan lives in East Anglia, England. He is an introvert disguised as an extrovert, an intelligent person who can say very unintelligent things, and a self-confessed bibliomaniac with more books than sense. ‘Anything for Her’ is Jack Jordan’s debut novel.

Connect with Jack via Twitter @_JackJordan_





Fade To Dead by Tara Moore

51fLCDE9GpL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_“A serial killer, The Director, is on the loose in South London. He’s snatching young women off the street to ‘act’ in his movies. He’s got a type: barely legal, blonde and beautiful.

Newly promoted DI Jessica Wideacre is tasked with heading up the investigation. But with few clues to go on and a rising body count, Jessica begins to fear she isn’t up to the job. Her boss is breathing down her neck. Her marriage is in jeopardy and the pressure is driving her to drink.

Meanwhile, The Director has another victim in his sights. He’s rolled out the red carpet, he s got a killer script, and now he s got his star. It’s a dream role, but not for her.”

When I first read the synopsis of this book I was hooked.  Simple as that.  I had to read it, there were no other options. And I’m so glad I did as this is a totally absorbing serial killer thriller with shed loads of punch.  It’s my kind of book.

Thanks to a killer who calls himself ‘The Director’ the body count in South London is on the rise.  Young girls with a very specific look are being targeted, only to meet a horrific death at the hands of a deranged killer.  Ballsy, newly promoted DI, Jessica Wideacre, is in charge but the clues are few and far between and progress is slow.  The situation is not helped by her DCI keeping a very close eye on her progress and thinking her not up to the job (a man would be much more suited). But Jessica has her own problems; her marriage is on the rocks and her family are THE family from hell!  Can Wideacre and her team piece together the flimsy evidence and stop The Director before the end credits roll on his leading lady..?  (Sorry, cheesy pun. I couldn’t help myself!).

DI Wideacre is a mess.  She’s aggressive, she’s unpopular  and the way she treats her team puts her on the cusp of a disciplinary hearing.  But she’s also driven and determined to get results.  If that makes her even more unpopular then so be it, she doesn’t give a rat’s bottom!  Wideacre is the type of character that I normally adore but for some (still unknown) reason, I didn’t really warm to her.  Saying that, I didn’t dislike her.  It’s just that there were other characters in the book I liked more than our heroine.

Having pondered on this conundrum it for a few minutes, I have come to the conclusion that I liked Wideacre more towards the end of the book when her relationship with arch nemesis and superior officer, DCI Beckwith, started to mellow.  I think throughout the book I was more a part of #TeamBeckwith than #TeamWideacre.

The investigation is slow and the body count is high.  There are lots of red herrings along the way to keep you guessing and I didn’t see the twist coming (that always gets extra points from me).

I enjoyed Tara Moore’s style of writing. The plot progressed well and at a enjoyable pace. Would I recommend this book?  Heck yes.  Even though my relationship with DI Wideacre has started off a little on the tentative side, I hope to read more about Jessica and team in the future.  This is a brilliant start to a great new series.

Four out of five stars.

Thanks to Matthew at Urbane Publications for providing me with a copy of Fade To Dead in exchange for an honest review.

Fade To Dead by Tara Moore was published in the UK by Urbane Publications on 11th May in eBook format and 19th May in paperback format | | | Waterstones |

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Born into a military family in Co. Kildare, Ireland, Tara spent much of her childhood moving around the country, as well as spending a period in the Middle East. During that time, she lived in Damascus and Jerusalem, where the family had a house on the Mount of Olives. For a short while she attended school there, learning rudimentary Arabic. After that, the family moved to Israel, where she attended a convent run by French nuns. At the commencement of the Six Day War, they returned to Ireland and settled in Dublin. She is one of six children. In 1985 she left Dublin for the brighter lights of London and within a year met and married her first husband, a fiery Spanish Moroccan. The marriage produced two sons, but ended in 1999. She relocated to the pretty harbour town of Ramsgate on the East Kent coast in 2005 and, within months, met her second husband, Dr David Moore. They married in Sorrento on 2008.

Although previously published under the pseudonyms Tara Manning and Emily Sage, she did not commence writing full time until 2010, working ‘for her sins’ in a series boring but stable jobs, including insurance, banking, accountancy and law.  Connect with Tara on Twitter via @TaraMoore2.

*Blog Tour* End As An Assassin (André Warner, Manhunter Book 1) by Lex Lander


EndAsAnAssassin_FrontCoverFinal“THIS TIME IT’S NOT FOR MONEY. 

André Warner is a professional killer, ex-British Secret Service. Thirty-nine contracts have made him a wealthy man, and his fortieth is to be his last. 

The hit goes smoothly enough, and the victim – a degenerate drug baron – is dispatched with minimal fuss and no traces left to incriminate Warner. He drives off into the sunrise to hang up his gun and retire to his home in Geneva. 

Then into his life comes Gina, a hauntingly beautiful divorcee, fugitive from a bad marriage. The timing is perfect, coinciding as it does with Warner’s new beginning. They soon become lovers, and all seems set fair for a life together. 

Their idyll is shattered when a former associate turns against Warner, and he faces exposure and arrest. Accompanied by Gina, he flees his Geneva home, only to run from the clutches of the Swiss police into the far deadlier embrace of a Marseilles crime syndicate whose boss has a score to settle on behalf of Warner’s last victim. Suddenly Gina is at risk through her association with him, and in trying to protect her he only makes matters worse. 

His retirement plans in shreds, his life on the line, Warner is forced to stage a comeback. Only this time it’s not for money. It’s for blood, pure and simple.”

Today is my stop on the End As An Assassin blog tour and I am delighted to share a guest post by Lex Lander with you.  André Warner, the lead in End As An Assassin, is a dashing international gun for hire.  For those that don’t know, I love books with an international feel about them and with that love comes a love of language.  My pitiful attempts to learn German pale into insignificance when it comes to Lex’s experiences though.

Foreign languages and the origins of words have always held a fascination for me. Living in France for 12 years, until the age of 16, I grew up bi-lingual English-French.  I took a degree at Auckland (NZ) University, starting in French, Italian, Spanish, and German.  Learning 4 languages simultaneously became  too stressful, so I dropped Spanish (a mistake!) and German.  After transferring to Exeter University to complete my degree course, I confined it to French and Italian. Later, during a 4 year stint in France running my father’s property business, I re-learned Spanish ‘on the job’ and ended up fluent in that language, minus the degree.

My French is of course essential in Montreal, where most of the populace are Francophone first, although many have a good grasp of English. My 12 years living in France have proved in valuable in equipping me with the  bi-lingual skills that are so useful to me today.

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This is a gripping thrill of a read with unexpected twists and shed loads of action.  If you like your thrillers with a James Bond-esque lead character then you will love End As An Assassin.  André Warner is smooth, debonair and deadly.  There were times I liked him and times I didn’t.  He’s a killer with a conscience and a code of practice.

I loved the international feel of this book.  The flitting from one country to another was fascinating and kept my interest.  There were times when I was sat on the edge of my seat, wondering how André was going to get out of a predicament in one living, walking, talking piece.

When we first meet Gina she is frosty, feisty and self assured and I preferred her this way, liking her less as she fell for André.  Their relationship was very full on and a little on the intense side for my liking but I can see exactly why the author wrote the couple that way.

A very enjoyable read for those that enjoy hard and fast thrillers.  Nice to have an anti-hero as the lead rather than a ‘For Queen and Country’ spy.  I look forward to the next book in the Manhunter series.

Four out of five stars.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

End As An Assassin by Lex Lander was published in the UK by Kaybec Publishing on 1st May 2016 and is available in eBook format | | |

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LEX LANDER is a British born writer of crime thrillers, living and working in Montreal. Despite heavy business commitments – he is a partner in a Property Realtor business – he is currently finding time to produce two novels per annum. Lander is also the author of political thriller ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER JACKAL, published by Kaybec in 2013.

Kaybec Publishing website

Lex Lander_Banner

Death Do Us Part (DI Damon Brook, book 6) by Steven Dunne

51OMLlNK0KL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_“DI Damen Brook is on a rare period of leave and determined to make the most of it by re-connecting with his daughter Terri. But with her heavy drinking proving a challenge, Brook takes the opportunity to visit a local murder scene when his help is requested.

An elderly couple have each been executed with a single shot to the heart and the method echoes that of a middle-aged gay couple killed the previous month.

With the same killer suspected and the officer currently in charge nearing retirement, Brook knows that he has little choice but to cut short his leave when forced by his superiors to take the lead on the case.

Brook believes that he can catch this ruthless killer, but already distracted by Terri’s problems, is he about to make a fatal mistake and lead the killer right to his own door?”

Why oh why have I not discovered this author/series before now?  (I am beating myself about the head with my bookmark for being a bit slow, I do deserve it!)  Those that visit my blog on a regular basis will know that I seem to have developed a habit of reading books part way through a series, having never read their predecessors.  Most of my recent reads have been book 2 or book 3 in a series.  This time I have gone 3 or 4 better and started with book 6!

An elderly couple are found executed in their home, each with a bullet through the heart. The scene is reminiscent of another murder which took place the previous month, but on that occasion the victims were a happily married gay couple.  The somewhat bumbling (you could say incompetent, you could say bigoted) DI Ford is removed as the lead on the case and replaced by DI Damon Brook.  However, DI Brook’s eye has been turned by another, possibly related, case .  This one brought to Brook’s attention by the incarcerated child serial killer, Edward Mullen…

This book was a real treat to read.  I do love a serial killer thriller with a stroppy DI as the lead character.  I wouldn’t necessarily call DI Brook stroppy but there was a certain…something about him that appealed.  The relationship between DI Brook and DS Noble was marvellous and I really enjoyed scenes when the two were interacting.

The storyline is quite complex, especially as DI Brook has two mysteries to solve.  I found the Black Oak Farm case more absorbing than the Champagne Killer case but I think that was because I found the reveal more shocking.  I didn’t see either reveal coming which I always love.  You read as many crime books as I have over the years and you start to play detective from page one!

Would I have been better off starting with book 1 in the series?  Well, yes.  But the answer is normally a yes to that question!  I do feel there were aspects of the book I didn’t necessarily ‘get’ because I have no previous experience of these characters.  Who is The Reaper?  Who is Edward Mullen?  Has DI Brook done something he shouldn’t have?  What is the history between Brook and his daughter, Terri?  All of these questions are answered but in that brief recap way you tend to get part way through a series.  Not having read any of the other books didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this one though.  However, I will be downloading books 1 to 5 when my TBR is at a more more manageable level!

Would I recommend this book?  Most definitely.  I’ve found another damaged but totally lovable detective to add my list of favourite crime fighters!

Four and a half out of five stars.

Many thanks to Headline, Steven Dunne and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Death Do US Part in exchange for an honest review.

Death Do Us Part by Steven Dunne was published in the UK by Headline on 5th May 2016 and is available in hardcover, paperback and eBook versions | | | Waterstones |

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Steven Dunne was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 1957. He went to the University of Kent after A levels and studied as little as possible, yet somehow emerged with a second class honours degree. He began writing articles for quality newspapers on dull subjects before writing the book for the Latchmere Theatre’s award-winning fringe production of Hansel and Gretel in 1989. He co-also co-wrote the revue, It’s Mad Mad World, We’re Plastered performed at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking the previous year and played the role of Teddy in the same theatre’s production of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming the same year.

In the 1990s he taught English in South London before moving up to his adopted home town of Derby towards the end of the decade. In 2007, he self-published Reaper, a thriller set in Derby, featuring the hyper-intelligent but mentally troubled detective, DI Damen Brook. The rights were optioned by Harper Collins and four more critically-acclaimed books followed. He has never taken a selfie.  Connect with Steven via Twitter @ReaperSteven


*Blog Tour* City of Shadows by M J Lee (Inspector Danilov, Book 2)

51rI4ZUX8dL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_“A family has been found murdered in the heart of 1920s Shanghai. But what could have compelled them to open the door to their killer?


“A family of four is found murdered in the heart of one of the new Art Deco estates in the city. It’s a brutal crime, committed without mercy.

Under questioning, a suspect confesses, but Danilov is not convinced of his guilt. When the accused is murdered on the steps of the police station, he investigates to clear the man’s name, diving deep into the dark heart of Shanghai, uncovering the greed and jealousy, triads and police corruption that lurks in the City of Shadows.

This is the second book in the Danilov series. The first, Death in Shanghai, is also available from Carina.”

Welcome to my stop on the City of Shadows blog tour which I am delighted to be sharing with the lovely Kate over at Bibliophile Book Club.  Once you’ve finished here why not pop over and read Kate’s review.

This is the second novel in the Inspector Danilov series and I (once again!) need to hang my head in shame and confess that I haven’t read Death in Shanghai.  But that certainly didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying this enchanting historical crime adventure. Would I have benefited from reading book one first…?  Well, probably…but that’s the case with the majority of books in a series, isn’t it?  For me it worked well as a standalone.

Our story starts with the Lee family being brutally murdered.  Danilov is immediately vexed as the murders took place on his patch but he’s not the lead detective (he should be, but he’s not).  Inspector Cowan, a less than honourable colleague, has taken the reigns and delights in bragging that the killer has been apprehended, using a little physical coercion (if you know what I mean!).  Whilst moving the prisoner to the hospital he and a fellow police officer are shot, one fatally.  Could this new murder be connected to the Lee family?  And if so, how…?

Inspector Danilov and DS Strachan are on the case!  (It’s not their case but they’re on it.) And thank goodness they are.  I ADORE Danilov and Strachan.  They are my new favourite crime-fighting duo!  Everything about these two characters works so well in my opinion. Danilov with his peculiarities, dutiful Strachan with his desire to learn from the more experienced detective. Such charming characters who I hope I will have the chance to read about again and again.

The multicultural setting of 1920s Shanghai was a joy to read about.  Historical fiction is something I dip my toe into very occasionally as I sometimes find it (dare I say) a little dull.  Not the case with the hustle and bustle of twenties Shanghai.  It was vibrant, fascinating and set the scene perfectly.

I couldn’t put this wonderful book down so it’s no surprise that I recommend it.  How can you not have Inspector Danilov and DS Strachan in your life??

Five out of five stars

Many thanks to Carina, M J Lee and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of City of Shadows in exchange for an honest review.

City of Shadows by M J Lee was published in the UK by Carina on 11th March 2016 and is available in eBook format | | Goodreads |

Tour banner M J LEE COS for JENNY

A1HPOdEg6jL._UX250_About the author:  Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.
Whilst working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarter of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in 1920s and 30s.
When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.  Connect with M J Lee on Twitter or via his website.

*Blog Tour* The Evolution of Fear by Paul E. Hardisty

51riSmn0bvL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_“Claymore Straker is a fugitive with a price on his head. Wanted by the CIA for acts of terrorism he did not commit, his best friend has just been murdered and Rania, the woman he loves, has disappeared. Betrayed by those closest to him, he must flee the sanctuary of his safe house in Cornwall and track her down. As his pursuers close in, Clay follows Rania to Istanbul and then to Cyprus, where he is drawn into a violent struggle between the Russian mafia, Greek Cypriot extremists, and Turkish developers cashing in on the tourism boom. As the island of love descends into chaos, and the horrific truth is unveiled, Clay must call on every ounce of skill and endurance to save Rania and put an end to the unimaginable destruction being wrought in the name of profit.

Gripping, exhilarating and, above all, frighteningly realistic, The Evolution of Fear is a startling, eye-opening read that demands the question: How much is truth, and how much is fiction?”

I am thrilled to be the next stop on the blog tour for The Evolution of Fear by Paul E. Hardisty.  This is the second book featuring Claymore Straker; the first being The Abrupt Physics of Dying which was short listed for the CWA John Creasy [New Blood] Dagger in 2015.  The third book, Reconciliation of the Dead, will be published by Orenda Books in 2017.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read The Abrupt Physics of Dying (what a super title!) but I will be adding it to my ever growing, ever teetering TBR pile.  So this was my first introduction to the dynamic Claymore Straker.  He is a hero and a half, going above and beyond the call of duty for the people he cares about and trying darn hard to survive in the process. Not an easy thing to do when there is a price on your head.

Clay is in hiding.  That is until gunmen turn up at his remote Cornish hideaway and he has to fight for his life.  Turning to the one person he trusts he discovers that there is a price on his head, which leaves him only one option, to run.  He takes the opportunity to contact Rania, the woman he loves.  But she’s not there and no one has seen her.  Not only is Claymore running for his own life, he’s running to save Rania’s life too…

There is so much happening in this book that I think the phrase ‘action packed’ was coined especially for it!  And what an international journey you go on.  The settings are described so clearly you can picture them in your mind.  Paul E. Hardisty paints a very vivid picture which I, for one, appreciated.  Hardisty is clearly a very intelligent and knowledgeable man who knows his subject matter inside out.  For me though, I loved the use of different languages the most.

A great fast paced, gripping read.  I think Lee Child hits the nail on the head with his quote on the cover “A solid, meaty thriller – Hardisty is a fine writer and  Straker is a great lead character”.  I couldn’t agree more.

Four out of five stars.

Thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of The Evolution of Fear in exchange for an honest review.

The Evolution by Paul E. Hardisty is published in the UK by Orenda Books on 5th May 2016 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | | | Waterstones


About the Author: Canadian by birth, Paul has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has rough-necked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, and rehabilitated village water wells in the wilds of Africa. He survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a in 1993 and was one of the last westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. The Abrupt Physics of Dying, his first novel, received great critical acclaim, and was short-listed for the CWA Creasy New Blood Dagger award. The Evolution of Fear, his second novel, will be released early this year. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national water, land and ecosystems research program. He is a pilot, a sailor, a keen outdoorsman, and conservation volunteer. Paul lives in Western Australia.


Emma Welton – Blogger in the Spotlight

I am honoured to be Portobello Book Blog’s Blogger in the Spotlight today. Thanks ever so much for having me Joanne.

Portobello Book Blog


I’m very pleased to welcome Emma Welton to the blog today. She tells me that the lovely picture above was taken on her honeymoon in Las Vegas. Emma blogs at Damp Pebbles and you can find details of that below.

Thanks for agreeing to be part of my Blogger in the Spotlight feature. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?

Hi Joanne, it’s my pleasure. 

My name is Emma and I live in Oxfordshire with my husband and two little people aged 5 and 2.  I’m in my, ahem, late-ish 30s and I’m a stay at home mummy.  Before that I worked for Oxford University but that seems a lifetime ago now!   

What books/authors did you enjoy as a child?

I always remember going to the library with my mum when I was young.  It was the smallest library I think I’ve ever seen but it…

View original post 671 more words

See How They Run by Tom Bale

51Xtj2bqloL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_How far would you go to save your family?

“In the dead of night, new parents Alice and Harry French are plunged into their worst nightmare when they wake to find masked men in their bedroom. Men ruthless enough to threaten their baby daughter, Evie.

This is no burglary gone wrong.
The intruders know who they’re looking for – a man called Edward Renshaw.  And they are prepared to kill to get to him.

When the men leave empty handed, little do Alice and Harry realise that their nightmare is just beginning. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Who is Renshaw? And what is he hiding?

One thing is clear – they already know too much.

As Alice and Harry are separated in the run for their lives, there is no time for breathe in their fight to be reunited. And with their attackers closing in, there is only a choice:


Oh my, this is a corker of a book.  Totally enthralling, totally compelling, totally addictive! The opening chapter grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go.  Imagine waking up to find masked men in your bedroom, it doesn’t bear thinking about.  After I had read the opening chapters of See How They Run I wanted to rush out and buy new locks and alarms for my own home!

Alice and Harry French are a normal couple with an 8 week old daughter to keep them busy (or exhausted if you prefer!).  Life is pretty normal, pretty ordinary.  That is, until masked men break into their house, threaten the life of baby Evie and assault Alice.

The men are looking for someone called Renshaw, or rather they are looking for him AND a package addressed to Renshaw.  Despite the terror they are exposed to they deny all knowledge. Thankfully the men leave but before they do they hand a stark warning to the French family.  Go to the police and Evie will die.  Forced to run, the couple are torn apart.  Can they keep themselves, and most importantly Evie, safe..?

The characters are what make this a great, great book.  Harry’s desire to protect his family is truly heart warming and I was willing him on from start to finish.  I found Alice’s attitude a little gung-ho, especially when it came to the safety of her daughter.  There were times I wanted to shake her and say ‘really…?’.  Evie is a cutie and I loved the way she was written.  Tom Bale is obviously a father himself to have that level of understanding when it comes to a baby’s thoughts and feelings!  At points in the book my heart was breaking for Evie, but maybe that’s because I am a mummy to two small people myself.

This is a great story that keeps you turning the pages.  There were times when I should have been doing other things but I just couldn’t put this book down.  I kept saying to myself, one more chapter just one more chapter and I love books like that.

Five out of five stars.

Many thanks to Bookouture, Tom Bale and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

See How They Run by Tom Bale was published in the UK by Bookouture on 6th May 2016 and is available in eBook and audio formats | |


Last Light: an edge-of-your-seat crime thriller by C J Lyons

51LvVBATMCL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_“1987: Lily Martin is horrifically murdered along with her young child in Texas.

Today: Life should be easy after leaving the FBI –  but not if you’re detective Lucy Guardino. Lucy has always seen herself as a normal mum who happened to have a job chasing the worst of the worst. But after a violent predator targets her family and she’s injured, Lucy sacrifices her career at the Bureau.

She joins the Beacon Group, a firm that specializes in cold cases. Lucy fears she’s traded the elite for shepherding a team of amateurs.

She is sent to rural Texas to investigate a case that’s already been closed with the killers behind bars for twenty-nine years.

But who really killed Lily Martin and her infant daughter? Why was an entire family targeted for annihilation? What price will Lucy pay when she fights to expose a truth people will kill to keep buried?”


What a fantastic concept and a great, great book.  This is book one in the Beacon Falls series but it brilliantly features one of CJ Lyons existing characters, Lucy Guardino.  Lucy was part of the FBI until her family were targeted and Lucy was badly injured.  So instead of (woe betide) retiring or killing her off, CJ Lyons has moved her away from the FBI to the slightly more relaxed Beacon Group investigating cold cases.

Lucy and her team are thrown in at the deep end on her first day in the office and asked to investigate the murder of a young family dating back to 1987.  Having never really travelled with the FBI she soon finds herself waving goodbye to her family and boarding a plane to Texas, with sulky colleague TK.  On arrival they meet David, the reason for their being in Texas and the son of one of the accused.  He believes whole heartedly that his father is guilty but his mother is dying and it’s her wish to have the case investigated one last time.

The murders were the biggest thing to happen to the small town so everyone who was alive then remembers what happened 29 years ago.  The Sheriffs Department and the deputies stand by their investigation – they sent two evil, murderous men to jail.  But that was then, this is now…could the two men accused of this terrible crime be innocent after all??

The characters make this book.  Lucy is fantastic but she’s a well established character so that came as no surprise.  TK got on my nerves to start with but I really warmed to her towards the end of the book.  She’s quite full of herself and arrogant but she’s an ex-Marine and I guess that’s how they are made.  Most of the other characters in the book really appealed to me (I won’t say which ones didn’t otherwise I could give the game away).

For a novel about solving a 29 year old cold case the plot was fast moving and engrossing.  I found this book hard to put down and heartily recommend it.  I better go and start downloading the first six books in the Lucy Guardino series!

Four out of five stars.

Many thanks to Hayley at edpr, the team at Canelo and CJ Lyons for providing me with a copy of Last Light in exchange for an honest review.

Last Light by CJ Lyons was published in the UK by Canelo on 3rd May 2016 and is available in eBook format | |